Personal Cybersecurity: What Every Internet User Needs to Know

Eduardo Garcia
August 21, 2019

Billions of people use the internet every day. It has become a significant part of nearly every part of our lives. For this reason, cybercriminals are constantly trying to find ways to break into your devices to steal your personal information and other sensitive information. While operating systems and major platforms like Google and Facebook do take some steps to protect users, it’s really up to individuals to take care of themselves. Like other criminals, hackers prey on easy targets. So if you want to truly bolster your cybersecurity, then follow these essential rules. 

1) Realize You are the Target

When most people think of hacks, they picture lone hackers preying on major multinational corporations worth millions of dollars. Some common excuses people use include:

— I’m not famous so who would attack me

— I don’t have any money

— I don’t have anything to hide

— I only use my computer for social networking

The truth is that while hacks against major companies make the news, the vast majority of all cyber attacks happen against individual users. Cyber thieves have an arsenal of tools at their disposal, and it only takes visiting an infected website or clicking on the wrong link for them to gain access to your data.

2) Strong Passwords are Essential

Surprisingly large numbers of internet users have weak passwords. Nearly 90% of people use passwords already leaked through different accounts. If you remember only one thing about passwords, let it be this: don’t use the same password across your online accounts.

Every password you use has to be strong and unique. Moreover, avoid anything on the top 10,000 most common password list. Instead, use password managers that generate complex passwords for your every account. And make sure you update them routinely.

3) Always Lock Your Devices

We get it ‘ locking your devices can be a hassle. You don’t want to input a passcode every time you turn your phone screen on or leave your computer for a moment. But it is a huge threat, both online and offline. It only takes a few seconds for people to gain access to your sensitive information. Instead, use strong, unique passcodes for all devices ‘ including USB and external hard drives. Take your security to the next level by using biometrics, like facial recognition and fingerprint technology.

4) Encrypt Your Files

More people than ever are taking advantage of cloud computing apps like Dropbox and Google Drive. However, hackers routinely target these services. It doesn’t take much to gain access to important files, particularly if you don’t have a strong password.

Use a file encryption service like NordLocker. NordLocker protects files offline and online through the latest security technology. It’s easy to use with a variety of features, including specific user access, and other essential tools for data safety. If someone does break into your account, all of our files will stay encrypted and hidden.

5) Be Careful with Public Wi-Fi

Who doesn’t love public Wi-Fi? Even if you have an unlimited data plan, it’s hard to pass up extremely fast, free Wi-Fi service. The problem with these public networks, however, is they are often full of security holes. Hackers use them to spy on anybody who is on the network. They can monitor all connections and trace internet usage back to specific computers. Therefore, use a VPN anytime you connect to a public network. It encrypts your network connections, ensuring that no one can spy on you.

6) Recognize Phishing Attempts

Phishing scams are all over the internet. Cybercriminals will attempt to gain access to your data through a variety of means. There are all kinds of scams out there. Be suspicious of anybody or any website asking for your personal information.

Be careful even with trusted services because some crafty hackers can create fake versions of major platforms by changing a letter or two. For example, there was a major phishing scam on the game platform Steam a few years ago that resulted in thousands of users login information getting stolen.

7) Update, Update, Update

Updates always seem to come at the worst time. You’re about to show a presentation to your boss only to see a pop-up notification for some app you barely use. Updates are essential. Most users think they are only for app improvements and changes in the interface. While this is often true, the vast majority of updates are security patches.

Hackers constantly try to exploit weaknesses in operating systems and apps. Developers try to fix these as quickly as possible through updates. When people don’t update, however, they leave themselves vulnerable to attacks.

The Essential Tips for Cybersecurity

There’s no way to be 100% safe in the digital era. However, by following these steps you can greatly reduce a hacker’s ability to target you and steal your data. Begin by taking steps to protect your network connection and files through a VPN and use a file encryption service like NordLocker. From here, use strong passwords both on your online accounts and your devices. Learn the signs of phishing attacks and other types of malware. Finally, make sure your computer and apps are always up to date. Through these techniques, you’ll ensure your digital security is the strongest it can be.

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